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Subjective Performance and the Value of Blind Evaluation

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  • Curtis R. Taylor
  • Huseyin Yildirim
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    Abstract

    The incentive and project selection effects of agent anonymity are investigated in a setting where an evaluator observes a subjective signal of project quality. Although the evaluator cannot commit ex ante to an acceptance criterion, she decides up front between informed review, where the agent's ability is directly observable, or blind review, where it is not. An ideal acceptance criterion balances the goals of incentive provision and project selection. Relative to this, informed review results in an excessively steep equilibrium acceptance policy: the standard applied to low-ability agents is too stringent and the standard applied to high-ability agents is too lenient. Blind review, in which all types face the same standard, often provides better incentives, but it ignores valuable information for selecting projects. The evaluator prefers a policy of blind (respectively informed) review when the ability distribution puts more weight on high (respectively low) types, the agent's pay-off from acceptance is high (respectively low), or the quality signal is precise (respectively imprecise). Applications discussed include the admissibility of character evidence in criminal trials and academic refereeing. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdq005
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

    Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 762-794

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:2:p:762-794

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    Cited by:
    1. Barbos, Andrei, 2012. "Imperfect Evaluation in Project Screening," MPRA Paper 40847, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Barbos, Andrei, 2013. "Project screening with tiered evaluation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 293-306.
    3. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2012. "Grade Inflation and Education Quality," Working Papers 2012-2, University of Miami, Department of Economics.

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